Technical SEO is a crucial part of any website’s overall optimization strategy. It involves optimizing website elements that could be more visible to the user, such as page speed and indexing. By getting your technical SEO basics in place and utilizing 10 best practices, you can drastically improve your website’s visibility and performance in search engine results.
What Technical SEO?
Technical SEO involves optimizing website elements and improving the infrastructure of a website to make it more visible and user-friendly. It is an essential part of any SEO (Learn SEO Free) strategy, as it can help you create a better experience for users, boost organic traffic, and increase rankings. Technical SEO includes fixing broken links and ensuring pages are indexed, improving page speed, optimizing for mobile viewing, setting up redirects, creating an XML sitemap, structuring data markup, etc.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO is essential for overall website performance. Not only does it make your website more user-friendly and accessible, but it also helps search engines understand what your website is about and why someone would want to visit it.
Proper technical SEO also allows search engine crawlers to find, crawl and index your content efficiently so that when someone searches for a specific keyword phrase, the right content appears in the search results. Technical SEO can also ensure that you have optimized page loading times and a responsive design, both critical elements of user experience. Finally, good technical SEO can allow your website to appear prominently in SERPs due to its improved speed, structure, and usability.
One of the most fundamental concepts behind technical SEO is understanding how search engine crawlers work. Crawlers (also known as bots) are the software used by search engines to visit and evaluate websites.
They scan a website’s code, content, links, images, and more to index a website correctly in the database. Technical SEO helps ensure that these crawling processes go smoothly and don’t take too long. Additionally, having proper structure and tagging can alert crawlers to specific page elements, like page title tags or metadata descriptions. It is important to note that if your website takes too long to crawl or has an adequate structure, it can help your ranking in SERPs.
Create SEO-Friendly Site Architecture
Site architecture is a website’s comprehensive structure and how all its pieces fit and work together. A proper site architecture helps to optimize SEO by ensuring that search engine bots can crawl quickly and accurately.
Some essential tips for creating an SEO-friendly site architecture include: using descriptive titles for each page, including keywords into URLs, hierarchically organizing content with consistent navigation, avoiding deep nesting of pages, creating a clear sitemap that can be easily accessed from any page, using breadcrumb navigation, canonicalizing URLs, etc. A good site architecture will ensure that your pages are discoverable by search engines and users alike – leading to improved organic traffic for your website!
Submit Your Sitemap to Google
Once your website’s architecture is set up and optimized for usability, it is time to get your content indexed. It begins by submitting a sitemap of your website to Google. A sitemap is an XML file containing all the URLs on your website. It helps Google bots identify which pages and content need to be crawled and when it should happen.
Fortunately, there are several tools available online that can generate a sitemap for you – some are even free! Once the sitemap is ready, upload the file to your server and submit the URL in Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) for indexing. Doing this will ensure that search engines can find all the essential pages on your website and index them properly, leading to higher visibility in SERPs!
Indexing is another crucial concept in technical SEO. Once a bot has crawled your website and all its content, it will store the information in a search engine database (which is known as indexing). However, elements of your website or URLs need to be indexed to be seen by search engines. That is why ensuring all your web pages are correctly indexed is essential.
To do this, you can check for any broken links on your site and correct them immediately so that bots can access them correctly. Additionally, using the canonical tag correctly and submitting both HTML and XML sitemaps to Search Console will help ensure that everything gets appropriately indexed. With good indexation practices in place, you can maximize visibility for your website and ensure it is ranking correctly in SERPs!
One of the most potent tools in technical SEO is the noindex tag. This tag tells search engine bots not to index a particular page, which is incredibly useful for redundant or unimportant pages.
The noindex tag has many applications, including duplicate content, disallowing pages from an eCommerce site (such as product reviews), and blocking parts of staging sites from being indexed. Ensure you understand where and when to use the noindex tag, as misusing it can lead to decreased website page visibility.
Canonicalization is one of the most critical technical SEO concepts. It involves providing search engines with a single, preferred URL version to ensure your website’s pages are correctly indexed and can be easily found by users. For example, if you have two versions of the same page (e.g., http://example.com/page and https://example.com/page), then you need to indicate to search engines which version should be used for indexing and ranking purposes.
It is done with the canonical tag, which tells search engines which page is the ‘master’ and should be given preference whenever they crawl your website. Canonicalization ensures that only your most important pages are indexed and helps avoid any potential confusion or duplication issues when indexing your content.
Technical SEO Best Practices
Technical SEO is an integral part of any SEO strategy. Understanding how crawling and indexing works, optimizing site architecture, submitting a sitemap to Google, understanding indexation, using the noindex tag, and canonicalization are crucial elements for getting your website seen by search engines.
Additionally, keep in mind that web page speed and a responsive design are essential for improved user experience. Following these tips will ensure that your website ranks high in SERPs and receives organic traffic from users.
1. Use HTTPS
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the most secure way to access the internet. This protocol helps ensure that users’ data and activities are secure when visiting a website. For example, when accessing websites with sensitive information, such as banking, shopping, or other confidential websites, it is essential to use HTTPS instead of its insecure counterpart, HTTP. By using this protocol, you can rest assured that your information is being kept safe and private.
It also offers improved search engine optimization (SEO), as Google now gives priority ranking to websites that are more secure with HTTPS versus those whose content is not served securely with HTTP. Making sure your website uses HTTPS will help potential customers feel more confident in their purchase decisions and result in a higher rank on SERPs from better SEO.
2. Limit Users and Crawlers to One Website Version
It’s essential to ensure users and search engine crawlers see only one version of your website. If a user visits one page on your website but sees different content when switching to another, it can be unclear and negatively affect your SEO. To avoid this, you should use the “canonical tag” or set up a 301 redirect so that all visitors see the same version of content regardless of what link or URL they use to access it.
Using the canonical tag or 301 redirects means that no matter which web page a user lands on, they will always be redirected to the version you want them to see. It helps ensure visitors are clear of conflicting versions and helps search engines effectively crawl and index your pages, leading to improved organic traffic for your website!
3. Improve Your Page Speed
Page speed is vital for good SEO, so it’s essential to ensure your pages load quickly. There are many ways to do this, such as reducing images and text size, compressing files, and minifying scripts and HTML code. Additionally, a content delivery network (CDN) can help ensure that images and other assets are loaded from the nearest server – minimizing latency.
Furthermore, caching webpages can also help pages load faster by storing commonly used content on users’ browsers, so it doesn’t have to be reloaded each time they visit a page. All these techniques can help you improve your page speed, which will help with rankings in SERPs and user experience!
4. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Today’s world is almost entirely mobile-centric, so it’s essential to ensure your website is mobile-friendly to maximize organic reach. Optimizing a website for the mobile experience is more than just ensuring the pages are responsive; you should also pay attention to other elements such as page load time and user interface (UI) designs — all of which play a significant role in providing an optimal experience for users.
Additionally, Google now penalizes websites that are not optimized for mobile devices by decreasing their search engine rankings, further emphasizing the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Ensure your website design is up-to-date and optimized for all devices, giving visitors an enjoyable and easy-to-use experience – no matter their screen size.
5. Implement Structured Data
Structured data is a powerful way to communicate information about your website’s content to search engine crawlers. This type of data, though often overlooked, can hugely benefit your website’s search engine visibility. Structured data can help you customize snippets that appear in Google SERPs and provide guidance for how search engines should index or display your website’s content.
These markup standards can help you ensure the essential elements of your website are prominently featured on SERPs, driving more organic traffic than ever before – things like titles and descriptions are essential here. Additionally, structured data makes it easier for crawlers to quickly process and understand your page contents so they can be accurately represented in relevant searches. If you want to improve SEO performance and visibility, implementing structured data markup is essential!
6. Find & Fix Duplicate Content Issues
Duplicate content is one of the most common issues that can adversely affect a website’s SEO performance. Finding and fixing these issues is essential to ensure your website ranks well in SERPs. A few places to look for duplicate content include pages with identical or similar titles, meta descriptions, and body content.
You should also check for duplicate URLs on the same domain, as this can cause the same page to be indexed multiple times – although Google takes steps to identify and combine them when possible. Once duplicate content is found, it should be addressed by canonicalizing the pages or using a 301 redirect from one page to another. Taking these steps will help ensure that only one version of each page will be seen in search results – thereby helping your SEO rankings!
7. Find & Fix Broken Pages
Broken pages can be a significant issue for any website, as they can directly and negatively impact SEO rankings. When there are broken pages, search engine crawlers can’t properly access them, resulting in diminished visibility and poor performance. To address this, you should check for broken pages by regularly auditing your website to find any 404 errors or other page issues.
You can also use tools such as Screaming Frog or Xenu Link Sleuth for auditing your entire site for broken links quickly. Once found, it’s essential to fix the issue with 301 redirects or by updating the internal link structure so that crawlers can adequately find the pages they need to index – thereby increasing organic traffic and improving SEO performance!
8. Optimize for Core Web Vital
Core Web Vitals are Google’s latest criteria for judging website performance, and they factor in heavily when it comes to organic rankings—as such, optimizing your website for Core Web Vitals is an integral part of having good SEO. There are three main components of Core Web Vitals that you should focus on First Input Delay (FID), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
FID measures how quickly a page responds to user input, LCP measures how quickly it loads its largest content block, and CLS measures instability due to elements suddenly shifting around. Improving these metrics can go a long way towards improving overall user experience and increasing organic visibility in SERPs – so make sure your website is optimized for Core Web Vitals!
9. Use Hreflang for Content in Multiple Languages
If your website contains content in multiple languages, then the Hreflang markup can help ensure that it’s properly indexed and displayed on SERPs. Hreflang is an HTML tag that tells search engines which language a particular page of content is in – this helps them correctly identify and serve up relevant information to users searching in different languages.
This markup should be used on every page of your website to accurately denote which version of the content they should appear in – English, French, German, Spanish, etc. Additionally, you may need to use additional tags if there are variations between regions like US/UK or Canada/Mexico. Optimizing your website for multiple languages with Hreflang tagging can improve visibility and increase organic search rankings!
10. Stay On Top of Technical SEO Issues
Technical SEO issues can be the difference between your website appearing at the top of search results or not at all. Regarding organic visibility, staying on top of technical SEO is essential to ensure your website maintains optimal performance. It means regularly auditing your website’s structure and HTML code to make sure that it’s free of common issues such as broken links, duplicate content, and slow page speed load times, among other issues.
You should also ensure that your website is secure with an up-to-date SSL certificate and is compatible with the latest web standards – any issue here could seriously hurt your SEO rankings. By proactively addressing these technical concerns, you’re well on achieving improved organic visibility!